With an inspired adaptation of Great Expectations written for a cast of over 45 performers, talented thespians at Bromsgrove School took their audiences on a journey of gothic horror, misadventure, cruelty and love in their recent Senior Production.
In an epic production held at the School’s Cobham Theatre, Dickens’ vision was skilfully recreated, with almost 60 scenic transformations and over 400 lighting and sound cues. It was a considerable feat for the students operating sound and light, as well as the young cast, who also effected every scene change, moving multiple pieces of set simultaneously in a perfectly choreographed ballet. Director and adapter, Tim Norton said “this has been a considerable challenge to bring the novel to the stage, but it has been hugely rewarding seeing the commitment of the cast and crew over recent weeks, who have come to fully embrace the novel’s complexity; its very dark themes, intricate characters and thrilling narrative.”
With over 150 characters, a huge fire, a paddle steamer, a forbidding old house, the marshes of Kent and the backstreets of London, audiences experienced an exciting two hours in the theatre.
Stand out performances from Eleanor J as Miss Havisham, James B as Magwitch and newcomers to the Sixth Form, Andrei A and Lisa V as Pip and Estella respectively, led a magnificent ensemble of young performers, most of whom had never been in a Senior Production before. New Drama Scholars from Year 10 were also given the opportunity to perform in the Senior play for the first time: Charlie C in the role of Young Pip spent considerable time with a fight director, his character often at the receiving end of a slap or a box about the ears from Young Estella or Mrs Joe.
Although this production was true to the sinister and often quite macabre aspects of Dickens’ story, there were some laugh out loud moments, particularly with Mr Wopsle, Young Herbert and a whole chorus of street hawkers, when London erupted with full force both in auditorium, as well as on stage at the opening of the second act.
“Everyone has worked incredibly hard and risen to the challenge of the piece magnificently. I know that all involved will have great memories to cherish for the rest of their lives.”